I only began watching Doctor Who part way through this year. Last night’s 50th anniversary episode ‘Day of the Doctor’ was truly stunning and I have now begun my slog through the last seven seasons (as far back as I dare go) so I may be fully prepared come the new season and the new Doctor.
What has struck, and most fascinated, me about the Doctor is his remarkable similarity to another clever boy who never grew up. From what little I’ve seen there seems to be and ongoing theme of growing up in Doctor Who and the man himself shares a lot of characteristics with Peter Pan. Remember I’m operating on limited knowledge and assumptions before you read on. I’ll probably check back in on this topic once I’ve finished catching up.
1. The Doctor doesn’t want to grow up: Taking it a step further he seems be purposefully getting more immature as he gets older. It’s no doubt a cover for the darker things that lurk beneath but still. This was highlighted in ‘Day of the Doctor’ when John Hurt, portraying a younger Doctor, when confronted by two other versions of himself, around four hundred years older, and calls them kids never imagining them to be much older hims. And later, too much laughter, when the most recent Doctor describes the situation as ‘timey wimey’ and John Hurt scoffs.
2. Companions: The Doctor has his companions, many and varied as they are, and Pan has his. Both inevitably outgrow their mischievous immortal friend and say their bitter sweet farewells, or in die in some cases. The Doctor offers all of time and space and Peter offers Indians, Pirates, Mermaids, and never having to worry about grown up things again. It’s too good to pass up but I imagine their usually running away from something (unsatisfactory life, fear of an uncertain future, the usual) not to it. The Doctor and Peter Pan are just tools for procrastination but ultimately can’t give them what they need and have to let them go.
3. Spirit of Mischief: The Roman God Pan is a mischievous faun with a set of pipes who loved tricks and deception. Peter Pan is a cheeky little boy with a set of pan pipes. The Doctor is a nutter with a sonic screwdriver. OK maybe not a nutter I apologise, I love him too. There’s a sneaky twinkle in each of their eyes. There’s also something sinister and deadly and so so sad in them as well. We know from our vampire feels that immortality can be lonely beast and Peter and the Doctor don’t even have others of their kind to talk to.
4. The Romance Thing: We’re all a little bit in love with him aren’t we? Our Doctor. And don’t you think his companions are too, some more obviously than others. His relationship with a few of them remind me of Peter and Wendy. Wendy loves Peter, and he loves her in as much as he can, but he can’t love her way the she needs/wants him to, he’s just not old enough to be capable of it. The Doctor is old enough and then some. His barrier to loving back may come from the divide in species or something more personal or internal but there is a barrier. Yes on occasion that barrier slips, River Song for example, but in most cases he can’t love them the way they wish he could and eventually, as in the point above, he has to let them go so they can find someone who can.
Wendy: "Oh the cleverness of you." And "Peter, you won't forget me will you?"
Clara: "Run you clever boy, and remember."
This is all I have so far in theories, let’s call it an essay plan and in seven seasons time maybe I’ll come back with an essay. In the meantime please offer your thoughts on the Doctor, Peter Pan and all that stuff in between. I’m off to watch some tellie.